I just signed up for a 5K trail run, the first time I’ve signed up for a race since the end of 2004. (Of course, moments after I signed up, I realized that I was actually not able to run that race, because I’ll be in Disney at the time it’s going on, but that’s not important.) Here’s what makes this cool: I’ve been sitting around NOT running for a while. I’ve dabbled at it.
But signing up is saying that I’m going to do it. It says, “You’d better go out and practice. You’d better get into even vague shape.” This is doing. It is pushing the button. It’s making something leave the theoretical and pushing it into the actual.
Dorothy Parker said, “I hate writing. I like having written.” I know many people who are like that about their business, their trade. I know many more people who love to fantasize about what life will be like when they make it, but they like to skip over the part with the hard work, or they give it a sentence or two.
My mom hates photos like this one. I make it sometimes at conferences because everyone else makes a really nice, staged smile. What goes through my head as I do it is “sometimes, the whole pictures in tribes thing is absurd.” And I don’t mean absurd to equal bad. I mean that it’s sometimes funny in the abstract. And that’s what I want to talk about today: funny. And specifically, I want to talk about how it impacts storytelling.
Funny Connects Us
At Gnomedex2008, Eve Maler started her presentation on online relationships by starting with some of the nicknames people have given her. One was “Hermione Granger,” because people say she’s detail oriented and bossy. Think about this as an open. She’s given us something that at once makes us smirk because it helps us relate.
As part of my Social Media 100 series, and because I believe it will have value to the space in general, I’m working through all the elements of a social media strategy. What comes first? Planning.
In coming up with the elements of a plan, I found a few surprises. One, I hadn’t considered having a “trial” phase or project as part of a strategy. Maybe there are elements that you’re not ready to roll up against your main brand. For those, you might want to trial them in a less direct way. Another surprise was that I hadn’t considered the training required for internal resources until I had a conversation with Cynthia Closkey.
I have been writing this post and deleting it for days. (Well, I didn’t touch my computer at all yesterday, but all those other days). I am thinking about where 2007 goes for me, and for the new media community in general.
2007: The Year It Goes Commercial
I asked my son Harold how he’d describe himself and he said, “I don’t know. There isn’t one word that describes me. I like gaming and stuff, and making music, and all that other stuff. There’s just not one word.” I can tell you what word he’d never use: autistic. Harold’s a very high functioning kid and the challenges of autism aren’t really his concern. He just works around them. BUT there’s stuff there that we can learn from and it’s important.
Harold is a Multi-Hyphenated Guy
Like everyone working in the world today, Harold has lots of pursuits. He plays video games. He modifies indie games, changing their skins and music. He’s a very accomplished music maker (at last count, he’d published just under 200 pieces on Soundcloud – yes, I said 200). That’s what he focuses on. He consumes media. He makes entertainment and media projects. To him, they’re one in the same. You watch it. You make it. You listen to it. You make it. You play it. You make it. They’re the same thing to Harold.
I travel every few days. On the day this posts, I’ll be flying to Chicago. A few days later, off to the west coast. Then, Chicago again. Then home. Then, Latvia. Yes, I fly a lot.
(If you’re blogging for pleasure or your own entertainment, skip this post and read any of these wonderful stories.)
I’m getting ready to write up my 3 words for 2010. If you’re not familiar with the exercise, the object is to come up with three words that you use as compass points for your efforts over the year to come. They’re not resolutions. They’re ways of framing what you plan to do in the coming year. Here were mine for 2009 and 2008. (In my mind, I did okay with 2 of the 3 goals. I’ll make 2010 a redoubled effort on “armies.”)
Neither Julien nor I have ever marketed a book like this before. We’ve helped friends promote their books, and we are both avid readers, but the difference between marketing something and liking something are the differences between a marriage and staring at a picture of someone you’ve never met in person. Along the way, I want to share some of what we’ve learned, especially because Trust Agents is a very different kind of book.
The Story So Far
None of what I’ll talk about accounts for what Wiley themselves are doing (until I’m directly involved, and then I’ll share that). I know they’ve started sending advanced copies to the mainstream press and things like that. Instead, I’ll focus on what Julien and I have done.